Its name means ‘centre of the world’, and since the dawn of history the Mediterranean Sea has formed the shared horizon of innumerable cultures. Here, history has blurred with legend. The glittering surface of the sea conceals the remnants of lost civilisations, wrecked treasure ships and the bones of long-drowned sailors, traders and modern refugees. […Learn More]
A new history of Assyria, the ancient civilization that set the model for future empires
At its height in 660 BCE, the kingdom of Assyria stretched from the Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf. It was the first empire the world had ever seen. Here, historian Eckart Frahm tells the epic story of Assyria and its formative role in global history. […Learn More]
Since the earliest known marker denoting the edge of one land and the beginning of the next—a stone column inscribed with Sumerian cuneiform—borders have been imagined, mapped, moved, and fought over. In The Edge of the Plain, James Crawford skillfully blends history, travel writing, and reportage to trace these borderlines throughout history and across the globe. […Learn More]
The Achaemenid Persian kings ruled over the largest empire of antiquity, stretching from Libya to the steppes of Asia and from Ethiopia to Pakistan. From the palace-city of Persepolis, Cyrus the Great, Darius, Xerxes, and their heirs reigned supreme for centuries until the conquests of Alexander of Macedon brought the empire to a swift and unexpected end in the late 330s BCE. […Learn More]
For centuries the city of Alexandria Beneath the Mountains was a meeting point of East and West. Then it vanished. In 1833 it was discovered in Afghanistan by the unlikeliest person imaginable: Charles Masson, an ordinary working-class boy from London turned deserter, pilgrim, doctor, archaeologist and highly respected scholar.
On the way into one of history’s most extraordinary stories, Masson would take tea with kings, travel with holy men and become the master of a hundred disguises; he would see things no westerner had glimpsed before and few have glimpsed since. […Learn More]
This volume is a concise introduction to the history and culture of the Huns. This ancient people had a famous reputation in Eurasian Late Antiquity. However, their history has often been evaluated as a footnote in the histories of the later Roman Empire and early Germanic peoples. Kim addresses this imbalance and challenges the commonly held assumption that the Huns were a savage people who contributed little to world history, examining striking geopolitical changes brought about by the Hunnic expansion over much of continental Eurasia and revealing the Huns’ contribution to European, Iranian, Chinese and Indian civilization and statecraft. […Learn More]
A groundbreaking dive into the role psychedelics have played in the origins of Western civilization, and the real-life quest for the Holy Grail that could shake the Church to its foundations.
The most influential religious historian of the 20th century, Huston Smith, once referred to it as the “best-kept secret” in history. Did the Ancient Greeks use drugs to find God? And did the earliest Christians inherit the same, secret tradition? […Learn More]
In the second of two volumes of this magnificently illustrated cultural history—the tie-in to the PBS and BBC series The Story of the Jews—Simon Schama details the story of the Jewish people, spanning from their expulsion from Spain in the Inquisition across six hundred years to the present day. […Learn More]
In A History of Modern Japan, cultural historian Christopher Harding delves into the untold stories of Japan’s recent history—from a pop star’s nuclear power protest song in 2011, to Japanese feminists who fought for an equal political voice in the 1890s.
Though highly successful, and typically portrayed as a unified effort, Japan’s rebuilding throughout the 20th century faced a lot of domestic criticism. This story-led account gives a voice to those who felt they didn’t fit in with what Japan was becoming. It’s that push and pull that made the country what it is today. […Learn More]